International Scholars retreat 2014: inspiring each other!

by Mir Muhtadi Faiaz | January 12, 2015
ubc international, scholars, retreat, 2014, vancouver, okanagan

One of the best things about being part of UBC’s amazing International Scholars is belonging to an extremely diverse and talented group of individuals who have inspiring life stories to share from different corners of the world. What could be better than passing a relaxed weekend full of fun and learning with other scholars from both UBC campuses in a warm and scenic wilderness setting?

Stories, good times, and new perspectives

The annual International Scholars retreat allows scholars from both campuses to get together away from all the hustle and bustle of school. This year the retreat was held at the Manning Park Resort and the theme was “Diversity and the human experience.” It was the largest retreat to-date with about 100 scholars catching up with one another, talking over meals, going on hikes, and just sitting by the fire under the wide, open sky and enjoying a bar-b-que. It was a good time for the first-year scholars to get to know the upper-year scholars, hear their inspiring life stories, and exchange their own ideas. The sheer diversity of scholars brings new and unique perspectives to group conversations, which generate new ideas and broadens our outlook.

Fun activities

There were a lot of workshops and brainstorming sessions, and scholars could choose which ones to participate in. The best part was that each of these was organized by the scholars, for the scholars. We also had fun activities like learning swing dance although I enjoyed the mountain hike the most. The tranquil view at the top after an adventurous hike was worth the effort, but the conversations I had with other scholars on the climb up and climb down really made me realize how lucky I am to be a part of this amazing community.

Family away from home

If the retreat had one impact on the lives of the international scholars, it was that the bonds and sense of community among the scholars were strengthened. As a first-year international scholar, Paola Lopez said, “I got to feel being part of a family away from home! I am glad I came to retreat and met all these wonderful scholars.”

The retreat helped the scholars to kick-start their academic term with new zeal and fervor. The memories, the insights, and the friendships formed will remain ever green, and the community will keep on inspiring us to reach greater heights. I am glad that I was a part of this retreat and I really look forward to the next one.